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NBA notebook: Celtics unveil statue of Bill Russell

Associated Press

It’s a day to honor another of Boston’s greatest sports champions.

Former Boston Celtics star Bill Russell watched the unveiling of his statue Friday at City Hall Plaza. Team owners, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino were there, along with NBA greats Bill Walton, Charles Barkley and Julius Irving.

Russell played center from 1956 to 1969, also serving as player-coach for three seasons. During those years, the Celtics won 11 NBA titles.

Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Some believe the Boston honor was long overdue.

President Barack Obama awarded Russell a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Obama got a sneak preview of the statue by a local artist during the president’s Boston visit Wednesday.

Wade starts for Heat

Dwyane Wade was back in Miami’s starting lineup against Brooklyn after sitting out the Heat’s loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Coach Erik Spoelstra stressed Friday there was nothing physically wrong with Wade, just that the Heat were being “proactive” in sitting him in their second game in two nights. He said Wade will not sit a game every time they have a back-to-back.

“Dwyane feels great,” he said. “He’s strong, he’s fit.”

Wade, who battled knee problems last season, said he wanted to play Wednesday but agreed with Heat trainers that sitting out was the “smart thing.”

Bad choice by Howard?

Mark Cuban has trouble understanding why any player would choose to play basketball for somebody other than his Dallas Mavericks if all things are equal.

And by all things, we mean money.

Not surprisingly, he firmly believes Dwight Howard’s spurning of the Mavericks during the summer free-agent scramble was an error on the All-Star center’s part.

So on Thursday at practice, the man with opinions to burn turned up the heat on Howard and the Houston Rockets, who played the Mavericks on Friday night.

“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said with a laugh when asked if he could blame the 6-11 center for choosing young James Harden as his key running mate with the Rockets over older Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.

“Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”

Cuban also said that he thinks that sometimes free agents make the blunder of believing that every player who is on the team they select will be there for the long haul. That’s not always the case, he said.

“You choose teams,” Cuban said of what he believes is a sound strategy for free agents. “You don’t choose players.’’


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